The Waikato Regional councillor axed from his role as chair following a surprise restructure claims it was his punishment for disagreeing with the chairman.
On Friday controversial councillor Fred Lichtwark's community restoration committee was merged with Stu Husband's catchment management committee.
The result was an integrated catchment management committee to be co-chaired by Husband and another councillor, Stu Kneebone, resulting in a demotion for Lichtwark.
The restructure was approved at an extraordinary council meeting on Friday with councillors voting 12-2 for it.
The Herald understands Rimmington created the chair role for Lichtwark last year in return for him supporting his bid to be the council chairman - but now a year on has dumped him from the role.
Lichtwark said the scrapping of his committee was punishment for speaking his mind.
In September Lichtwark was banned from speaking to most council staff with the exception of chief executive or director relating to his portfolio after his rant in a corridor apparently left some in tears.
"I have been honest and transparent and they don't like it," he said.
"They don't like me."
"Any councillor who doesn't agree with Russ is punished."
The second-term councillor was more concerned about what this meant for restoring the environment than his position given that part of the committee was now being overseen by farmers. He had the most expertise in community restoration and planting than any other councillor and it had been his priority to get as many trees in the ground as possible, he said.
Lichtwark said the council had reverted back to a similar format to the previous term which hadn't worked so he wasn't sure why councillors thought it would work this time around.
"Council's decision to disestablish the Community Restoration Committee in just two days is a kick-in-the-teeth for all these (not-for-profit community) groups. It has also left the environmentally conscious councillors on the committee feeling blindsided."
But Waikato Regional Council chair Russ Rimmington denied it was dirty politics and said the move was a result of 12 month review where feedback from councillors who felt there was crossover of the role and function of the community restoration committee and the river and catchment management committee.
He admitted the review of the committees had been brought forward so it didn't clash with the long-term plan and carried out in a "tight timeframe".
"We've tried a different way of doing things this year, but it hasn't worked as well as we thought it might."
The work overseen by the new committee made up for a third of the council's core business and bringing it under one umbrella will provide improved oversight and efficiencies, he said.
RImmington said he liked Lichtwark and the move had nothing to do with him personally.
"He has never fallen out with me in the slightest. I like him but we looked at the review and you obviously can't chair a committee that's non-existent."
Rimmington said he opted to put in Stu Kneebone as co-chair over Lichtwark because he was more experienced and he thought he would do a better job.
"Stu Kneebone - you can't call him a farmer - I think he's got a small block. He's probably one of the most greenies on the council so that's got no substance at all."
The new committee will be chaired by councillors Stuart Husband (north) and Stu Kneebone (south). Its membership comprises councillors Fred Lichtwark, Andrew MacPherson, Kathy White, Pamela Storey and Tipa Mahuta.